Laven­der traded for Mavunga

Chicago Sun-Times - - SKY BEAT - Made­line Ken­ney

The Sky on Fri­day traded in­jured for­ward Jan­tel Laven­der and a sec­ond- and third-round draft picks in 2021 to the Fever for for­ward Stephanie Mavunga hours be­fore the league’s 7 p.m. trade dead­line.

Com­ing off her best sea­son in four years, Laven­der, whom the Sky ac­quired be­fore last sea­son, didn’t en­ter the wub­ble in Braden­ton, Florida, last month af­ter she had sea­son-end­ing foot surgery in June. Since then, she has worked as an an­a­lyst for Sky game broad­casts. It’s un­clear if this move will af­fect her broad­cast­ing gig.

With Laven­der un­able to play and on an ex­pir­ing con­tract, it made per­fect sense for the Sky to go af­ter a young player with a high up­side such as Mavunga. The Sky (10-5), who have been rid­dled with in­juries dur­ing this ac­cel­er­ated sea­son, could use front­court depth.

Mavunga, whom the Fever drafted 14th over­all in 2018, posted ca­reer-highs in points (5), re­bounds (4) and min­utes (11.8) in five games this sea­son be­fore a bro­ken nose tem­po­rar­ily side­lined her. She left the wub­ble af­ter her in­jury but has been cleared to play, the Sky said. She’s ex­pected to re­turn to the court af­ter her quar­an­tine pe­riod.

Gen­eral man­ager James Wade said it was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to let Laven­der go, though he felt it was nec­es­sary.

“It’s a tough day for us, but we’ll feel good when Stephanie gets here,” Wade said in a state­ment. “Th­ese things are al­ways both­er­some, es­pe­cially for a coach and es­pe­cially in this day and time. When you are mak­ing de­ci­sions like th­ese, you don’t make th­ese de­ci­sions lightly, but we have to do what’s best for the play­ers that are play­ing and it was ob­vi­ous to us we had to have healthy bod­ies.” ✶

PHE­LAN M. EBENHACK/AP

Stephanie Mavunga

CHICAGO SKY

Jan­tel Laven­der

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